Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Everything here's impossibly old
and once you've seen one ruinous cottage
or roofless church, you're better off
breaking the spine of a book at the noust
than carrying on with the tour. It should
be said, though, that a crumbling broch
is far finer than abandoned brick-
n-mortar batteries, Brodgar boggles
the brain, and it must be something
else to see the solstice sun flicker
and ripple on the rear wall of Maeshowe—
but sure as this landmass drifted
from Orcadie, it'll all wind up
in the sea. Five millenia back,
the waves that buss the buttressed seawall
at Skara Brae were half a mile of dunes
away. The Old Man of Hoy's a peedie boy
compared with what’s crumpled about him.
burns all roofless day without blinking.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 2:55 PM
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
It should be noted that Redhill has been published by both Coach House and Anansi and was on the Coach House editorial board for several years in the 90s. So I wouldn't go so far as to say this was an unbiased judgment on his part, given that the list is comprised of two Anansi books and one Coach House publication. Given that the prize is funded by Anansi's owner, it would have looked a lot better if Redhill had managed to shortlist but one of their books. But as conflicts go, it's fairly tenuous. Not to say that there aren't conflicts, but none that I know of.
Anyway, enough of such speculations. I'm very glad for all three shortlistees, especially my pal Jeramy Dodds, who is having a damn good April to-date and is about to hit the road on a cross-country train tour. (Wonder where he got that idea?) This might just be the closest that yours truly ever gets to Griffin gold, as my name appears in Crabwise to the Hounds. Also, it should be noted that Kevin Connolly, also shortlisted, edited Jeramy's book. Gotta be a good day for him.
We're off to Edinburgh tomorrow evening, which seems scarcely possible. The flight with a 9 month old should be... interesting. How he manages jet lag even more so. I'll be popping in from time to time, but mostly enjoying my holiday before getting back to the grindstone in Halifax, working on the train and getting my house and grounds up to snuff. Ciao for now.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 7:35 PM
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Mansfield Press has started up a new feature on their website, "The Mansfield Revue." It includes my recent review essay of Pino Coluccio and Suzanne Buffam's books from CNQ 76.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 10:10 AM
Friday, April 3, 2009
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 4:18 PM
Thursday, April 2, 2009
In another year, Katia Grubisic's What if Red Ran Out might be a serious contender, but tough comp in '09. A few months back I flipped through Johanna Skibsrud's book and took a pass; haven't looked at it closely enough to make a judgment, but what I saw didn't grab me. Chiles and Eichorn I know very little of. I hadn't even heard of Chiles' publisher, Cinnamon Press. Anyway, I've very curious to find out who wins this one.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 9:39 PM
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 9:33 PM
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
April is, of course, for better or for wourse, National Poetry Month. 30 days hath NaPoMo and as we know, Julie Wilson will be presenting 30 poets (or so) over at Seen Reading. She's already posted the archive, which is bound to grow. There you can hear all kinds of great stuff--I've only made a small dent myself--including yours truly reading a poem of his own and a poem of Edwin Muir's.
A bunch of other folks have undertaken similar serializations. The National Post's blog, The Afterword, will be publishing 30 poet profiles/Q&A's over the course of the month, including one of yours truly, on a date TBA. Angel House Press promises to also expose us to one verser a day. As does the League of Canadian Poets--members only, natch.
What am I doing for NaPoMo? Running. I handed the keys to my erstwhile apartment over to the landlord yesterday, our goods--what's left of them--were loaded on a truck on the 28th. We're now at no fixed address for 30 days. Right now, we're crashing at my sister-in-law's while she and her family are in Mexico. Tomorrow, my family and I head to Sechelt for a getaway weekend given to us by said sister-in-law as a marriage present last April and untaken advantage of till now due to Kaleb's birth and general busyness. On our return, we'll be spending a few days at my mother-in-law's in False Creek before leaving on April 8 (which happens to be my pa's 73rd birthday; so many of my relatives, including my darling wife, were born in April) for Scotland (another wedding gift, this one from Rachel's dad). We fly into Edinburgh, via Amsterdam, spend a night, then we rent a car and drive up to Stromness in the Orkneys (Rachel's mother's maiden name, coincidentally, is Strom), where we'll be spending what promises to be a glorious week in a stone cottage on a pier, hard by the erstwhile home of the wonderful Orcadian poet George MacKay Brown. I'm reading Brown's novel, Beside the Ocean of Time, in preparation for the trip. I've also recently finished reading the autobiography of Edwin Muir, former teacher of Brown and outstanding poet, translator (most notably of Kafka, along with his wife, Willa) and critic. The two make for an interesting contrast: Muir the cosmopolitan nomad and Brown the stay-at-home islander. A contrast familiar to anyone who grew up on an island. Or in any remote/rural community, for that matter. There are an awful lot of landlocked islands in the world today. From Orkney, we make our way back to Edinburgh, stopping in Glencoe before finishing the trip with 5 days in the capital city, where we've rented a flat.
We'll be back in Canada late April, flying into Montreal, then taking the train to Halifax, where we'll hole up in a hotel a couple of days before retaking possession of our North End house, resuming some version of the life we led between 2004-06. We're making this epic move--again--for a number of reasons, personal and financial. What it boils down to is that we're far better equipped to lead the sort of life we want to lead in Halifax than we are in Vancouver, a city far too expensive for anyone not wealthy or overfond of working hard.
So, CLM will be unwontedly quiet over April as we go, as Chaucer said, on pilgrimage. But I'll try to post the odd photo from our travels.
Posted by Zachariah Wells at 4:08 AM